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A Gun for Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp

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“A Gun for Dinosaur” is a 1956 science fiction novelette by L. Sprague de Camp. It is about a guide company that takes their clients millions of years into the past on dinosaur hunting expeditions.

Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

What is it about dinosaurs and science fiction? The two seem made for each other. And the match spans the entire spectrum of SciFi too – from stories to novels to comics to movies and TV shows. I have read several of these type of stories, and here is yet another one – this time with its own similarities to (and differences from) all the rest. If you read it let me know how you think it compares to the others.

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

A dinosaur!

Rivers and Aiyar are specialized hunting guides – they take wealthy clients into Earth’s far past to hunt the really big and dangerous game… like dinosaurs! However, clients still need to meet minimum size and weight qualifications. Why? Because, as Rivers tells us, he once took two unprepared men into the Late Mesozoic era and the results were both disastrous and vengeful.

My Two Cents…

  • I enjoyed all the detailed descriptions of both the plant and animal life of the Mesozoic era.
  • The characters were fun to read about with all their pulp SciFi stereotypical attitudes!
  • Yes, there were some far-fetched and hard-to-swallow parts to this story, but isn’t that what pulp SciFi is all about? And overall it was still a fun read.

Interesting Tidbits About This Story:

  • Page Count: 17
  • Word Count: 10,627
  • Did you know that L. Sprague de Camp wrote several biographies of fantasy authors, including Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft? Yep. You can learn more about this prolific writer at Wikipedia.

Where You Can Find A Gun for Dinosaur:

  • This story was originally published in the March 1956 edition of Galaxy Science Fiction.
  • You can read a nice online version of “A Gun for Dinosaur” at the Baen CD web site – where it is part of their awesome free book The World Turned Upside Down.

Craving More Stories?

If you liked “A Gun for Dinosaur” then you’ll probably also enjoy A Sound of Thunder – another cool story about hunting dinosaurs, by Ray Bradbury.

2 thoughts to “A Gun for Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp”

  1. So, Rusty, do you remember a “similar” story about time travel back to the age of dinosaurs, not for hunting, though, where someone stepped on a butterfly and killed it, and when they returned to the present, everything had changed? Probably was called ‘The Butterfly Effect’, though I don’t recall either title or author, just remember reading it twenty or thirty years ago.

  2. Jon,

    Oh yeah, A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. An excellent story that one, in fact I liked it better than this one because of the shocker ending! Definitely worth reading if you haven’t read it in a while.

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